Month: January 2017

Film Notes: Toni Erdmann (2016) directed, written and co-produced by Maren Ade

DE – AT – RO / 162 min / Color / Komplizen Film production in co-production with coop99, KNM, Missing Link Films, SWR/WDR/ARTE Dir: Maren Ade Pro: Janine Jackowski, Jonas Dornbach, Maren Ade, Michel Merkt Scr: Maren Ade Cin: Patrick Orth Cast: Peter Simonischek, Sandra Hueller, Michael Wittenborn, Thomas Loibl, Trystan Puetter, Hadewych Minis, Lucy Russell, Ingrid Bisu, Vlad Ivanov, Victoria Cocias Synopsis: Winfried doesn’t see much of his working daughter Ines. The suddenly student-less music teacher decides to surprise her with a visit after the death of his old dog. It’s an awkward move because serious career woman Ines is working on an important project as a corporate strategist in Bucharest. The geographical change doesn’t help the two to see more eye to eye. Practical joker Winfried loves to annoy his daughter with corny pranks. What’s worse are his little jabs at her routine lifestyle of long meetings, hotel bars and performance reports. Father and daughter reach an impasse, and Winfried agrees to return home to Germany. Enter flashy “Toni Erdmann” – Winfried’s smooth-talking alter ego. Disguised in a tacky suit, weird wig and even weirder fake teeth, Toni barges into Ines’ professional life, claiming to be her CEO’s life coach. As Toni, Winfried is bolder and doesn’t hold back, but Ines meets the challenge. The harder they push, the closer they become. In all the madness, Ines begins to understand that her eccentric father might deserve some place in her life after all. Release Dates: 14 May 2016 (Cannes Film Festival), 15 June 2016 (Sydney Film Festival) 14 July 2016 (Germany) 20 January 2017 (Spain)  IMDb Rating: 7,8.

Begoña and I have had the opportunity of watching Toni Erdmann recently. The film has been highly praised by the specialised critic and the public in general. I must say I found the film excessively long and rather repetitive. Apart from a couple of funny scenes, I couldn’t find amusing most of its jokes. But I’m certainly in minority, judging for most of the film reviews I’ve seen so far. So don’t take my word and judge by yourselves.

Official website

The Hollywood Reporter Cannes Review

OT: Casa de Campo Park

Yesterday strolling through the Casa de Campo, with my hiking group. The Casa de Campo (Country House Park, in English) is the largest park situated west of Madrid in Moncloa-Aravaca district. Formerly a royal hunting estate, its extension includes more than 1,722 hectares with a lake than has nearly 80,000 square meters of area. This is not the first time I show pictures of this park.

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Film Notes: Timecode (2016) by Juanjo Giménez

SP/ 15 min / Color / Nadir Films, ECIR Dir: Juanjo Giménez Peña Pro: Juanjo Giménez Peña, Arturo Méndiz, Daniel Villanueva Scr: Pere Altimira, Juanjo Giménez Peña Cin: Pere Pueyo Mus: Ivan Céster Cast: Lali Ayguadé, Pep Domenech, Vicente Gil , Nicolas Ricchini Synopsis: Luna and Diego are the parking lot security guards. Diego does the night shift, and Luna works by day (IMDb). Release Dates: The film premiered at the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival on 16 May 2016. IMDb Rating: 7,2.

MV5BODVkYmRjM2QtNmY1OS00ZDA1LThmZGEtY2U1MTI0N2VhZDE3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTI5NjIyMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,703,1000_AL_Spanish short film Timecode, directed by Juanjo Giménez, is among the five nominees for the Best Live Action Short-Film category at the 89th edition of the Academy Awards. Timecode arrived for consideration at the Academy hot off the back of its success at the Cannes Festival, where it won the Palme d’Or for the Best Short Film. Its 15 minutes of action focus on the peculiar relationship between two security guards in a parking garage.

According to the director, speaking while at Cannes, it is a story of “secrets and discoveries” between a male and a female employee who cover different shifts at the lot. “The two protagonists are dancers with long careers, Lali Ayguadé and Nicolas Ricchimi, and through them I explain that beauty can be found in the most unexpected places – and with two security guards,” Giménez explained at the festival. (English version by Simon Hunter. Source: El Pais)

Juanjo Giménez was born and lives in Barcelona. He has directed a few shorts, including Rodilla (2009), Nitbus (2007), Maximum Penalty (2005) and Indirect Free Kick (1997), all of them awarded at national and international festivals. He’s the director of the feature films Tilt (2003), awarded in Rome, Las Palmas and Ourense, Dodge and Hit (2010), co-directed with Adan Aliaga, best documentary in Alcances Film Festival Cadiz and Courmayeur Noir, and Contact Proof (2014), also premiered in Alcances. He’s also the founder of the production companies Nadir Films and Salto de Eje. Some of their productions are My grandmother’s house (Adan Aliaga, 2005), Joris Ivens Award at IDFA, Stigmata (also directed by Adan in 2009) Pilar Miró Award for Best First Film in Seminci-Valladolid, and Anas, an Indian film (Enric Miró, 2009) awarded at Documenta Madrid, Alcances and premiered at Karlovy Vary. (Source: Official Site)

Interview: Juanjo Giménez Talks About Timecode

I have not had the chance to see this short film, unfortunately the distribution of these films is very poor and there are few opportunities of viewing them, not even in the small screen. Frankly I don’t understand why they are not broadcast on TV, for example.

Oscars 2017: Foreign Language Film Nominees

Land of Mine (Original title: Under sandet), written and directed by Martin Zandvliet (Denmark). Spanish title: Bajo la arena. Synopsis: As World War II comes to an end, a group of German POWs, boys rather than men, are captured by the Danish army and forced to engage in a deadly task—to defuse and clear land mines from the Danish coastline. With little or no training, the boys soon discover that the war is far from over. Inspired by real events, Land of Mine exposes the untold story of one tragic moment in post-war history. Watch the trailer here.

A Man Called Ove (Original title: En man som heter Ove, written and directed by Hannes Holm (Sweden) Spanish title: Un hombre llamado Ove. Synopsis: Stepping from the pages of Fredrik Backman’s international best selling novel, Ove is the quintessential angry old man next door. An isolated retiree with strict principles and a short fuse, who spends his days enforcing block association rules that only he cares about, and visiting his wife’s grave, Ove has given up on life. Enter a boisterous young family next door who accidentally flattens Ove’s mailbox while moving in and earning his special brand of ire. Yet from this inauspicious beginning an unlikely friendship forms and we come to understand Ove’s past happiness and heartbreaks. What emerges is a heart-warming tale of unreliable first impressions and the gentle reminder that life is sweeter when its shared. Watch the trailer here

The Salesman (Original title: ‎‎ Forushandeh) directed by Asghar Farhadi (Iran) Spanish title: El viajante. Synopsis: After their old flat becomes damaged, Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), a young couple living in Tehran, are forced to move into a new apartment. However, once relocated, a sudden eruption of violence linked to the previous tenant of their new home dramatically changes the couple’s life, creating a simmering tension between husband and wife. Watch the trailer here

Tanna co-directed by Martin Butler and Bentley Dean (Australia). Spanish title: Tanna. Synopsis: Set on a remote Pacific island, covered in rain forest and dominated by an active volcano, this heartfelt story, enacted by the Yakel tribe, tells of a sister’s loyalty, a forbidden love affair and the pact between the old ways and the new. Watch the trailer here

Toni Erdmann directed, written and co-produced by Maren Ade (Germany/Austria). Spanish title: Toni Erdmann Synopsis: Winfried doesn’t see much of his working daughter Ines. The suddenly student-less music teacher decides to surprise her with a visit after the death of his old dog. It’s an awkward move because serious career woman Ines is working on an important project as a corporate strategist in Bucharest. The geographical change doesn’t help the two to see more eye to eye. Practical joker Winfried loves to annoy his daughter with corny pranks. What’s worse are his little jabs at her routine lifestyle of long meetings, hotel bars and performance reports. Father and daughter reach an impasse, and Winfried agrees to return home to Germany. Enter flashy “Toni Erdmann” – Winfried’s smooth-talking alter ego. Disguised in a tacky suit, weird wig and even weirder fake teeth, Toni barges into Ines’ professional life, claiming to be her CEO’s life coach. As Toni, Winfried is bolder and doesn’t hold back, but Ines meets the challenge. The harder they push, the closer they become. In all the madness, Ines begins to understand that her eccentric father might deserve some place in her life after all. Watch the trailer here.

The Film The Age of Shadows Will Hit the Screens in Spain on Friday

The Age of Shadows (Original title: Miljeong) is a 2016 South Korean action thriller film directed by Kim Jee-woon and written by Lee Ji-min and Park Jong-dae. The film stars Song Kang-ho and Gong Yoo.It was selected as the South Korean entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards but it was not nominated. The film won the Best Picture award in the Action Features category at the 2016 Fantastic Fest held in Austin Texas.

Synopsis: The Age of Shadows is an intricate story of the Korean resistance movement under the Japanese occupation of the late 1920s. Their aim is to smuggle explosives to Seoul to blow up important Japanese outposts. Our main protagonist, previously a resistance fighter and now chief of police, goes undercover to unravel the movement. The plot thickens when he becomes a double-agent, and the film evolves into a game of high stakes.

Kim Jee-woon (b. 1964) from Seoul is one of the greatest exporters of South-Korean thrillers from our age. He’s the director behind hyper-violent and stylized gems such as A Tale of Two Sisters, A Bittersweet Life, The Good The Bad and The Weird and I Saw the Devil.  In 2013 he made his Hollywood debut The Last Stand with Arnold Schwarzenegger as a lead.